Airports Council International (ACI) Europe has hit back at the “extraordinary claim” made by Airlines for Europe (A4E) that airport charges have increased by 80 per cent over the past 10 years.
ACI Europe says in reality the top 21 European Union and European Free Trade Association have increased charges by 25.4 per cent in real terms, and this has resulted in considerable improvements in services and facilities.
The top airports have invested 53 billion euros ($60 billion) over the past 10 years, at a much lower cost to airlines than claimed. ACI Europe says airports have increased total connectivity by 51.6 per cent and director connectivity by 10.7 per cent during that time.
ACI Europe director general, Olivier Jankovec says: “A4E and its airline members behave like Alice in Wonderland, where money apparently grows on trees. Whether we like it or not, European governments are no longer willing to pay for airport infrastructure – and EU rules now forbid State aid to large airports on competition grounds.”
“This is not what may be happening in other parts of the World, but this is our reality here in Europe – and this means that airlines need to come to terms with paying a fair share of the costs involved.”
He also says: “Europe’s major airports show that airport investment is not about building Taj Mahals. It is about boosting capacity, quality and ultimately air connectivity for Europe – which means a direct and very substantial contribution to economic growth and job creation.”
“These €53 billion were invested in strategic infrastructure without weighing on public finances. As such they complement the European Strategic Investment Fund and are essentially driving the objectives of the EU Aviation Strategy.”